I have two coworkers of some Italian ancestry (one full, the other half.) They frequently talk about the Italian foods they and their families make at home, and in doing so they use what seem to me some pretty bizarre pronunciations. The trend in general seems to involve mainly dropping the last syllable of a word, and also slurring vowel sounds together and softening voiceless consonants into voiced ones (for example, t becomes more like d, p more like b, etc.)
prosciutto = bruh-ZHOOD
antipasto = ahnt-suh-PAHS
sopressata = SOOP-er-sahd
mozzarella = mahtz-(uh)ELL (the second syllable is kind of slurred into the third)
and of course, the infamous gah-buh-GOOL for capicola.
Yesterday, I just learned a new one: broc-uh-RAHB for broccoli rabe. I know I’ve heard a weird one for ricotta too, but I can’t remember it. ruh-GOAD or something like that.
They think that these are the “real” Italian pronunciations, that they’re wordly-wise cosmopolitans for using them, and that I’m uncultured and provincial for saying pruh-SHOOT-o. I’m skeptical, however, seeing as how their families have been in America for generations and they don’t actually speak any Italian. I tend to think that the pronunciations have been corrupted in a game of generational whisper-down-the-lane.
Can anyone knowledgable in Italian weigh on how right or wrong they are?